paul gilbert






Behold Electric Guitar

(Mascot Label Group/

Music Theories Recordings)

      Throughout the maligned histories of the 'Shred' sub-genre and it's countless bastardized offspring, many artists have emerged and briefly prospered before quietly returning to obscurity (i.e. Dave Uhrich, Rusty Cooley and Black Oak Arkansas alumni Shawn Lane). Fortunately, this is most definitely not the case with legendary Mr. Big/ex-Racer X axemaster Paul Gilbert. Unleashing his full-length solo debut King Of Clubs (1998) after departing from the Eric Martin and Billy Sheehan-fueled 'Super Group' Mr. Big, he would released eight (!) additional efforts in less than a decade. Reuniting with Mr. Big in 2011 for the release of What If..., The Stories We Could Tell (2014) and Defying Gravity (2017), Gilbert would continue to deftly deliver his unique brand of musical adventurism. Returning with Behold Electric Guitar, his first release for Mascot Label Group in seven years (Vibrato, 2012), he is now seemingly guaranteed to reascend to the oft-dizzying heights of global acclaim.

      On the brilliant Behold Electric Guitar (2019), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of instrumental 'Shred' Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the maddeningly infectious, Hammond B3-laden “Havin' It” and the delightfully playful “Everywhere That Mary Went”, immediately commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Driving home each key focal point via the seamless, depth-defying flow that has thus far personified his career, Gilbert effortlessly distances himself from his few legitimate contemporaries. Effectively reminding us all of his subtle, unassuming dominance of the genre, the guitarist lays the foundation for the auditory ingenuity that soon follow. Delivers the goods without, believe it or not, burying the proverbial average listener amid an avalanche of compositional disappointment, Gilbert remains tastefully restrained while hinting at fret-melting possibilities.

      Continuing with the speed-of-light, Mahavishnu-esque “Sir You Need To Calm Down” and the fist-pumping Jazz examination “A Snake Just Bit My Toe”, the airtight--to say the very least--combination of guitarist Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, ex-Racer X), bassist Roland Guerin (replacing Kelly Lemieux, who was unavailable due to touring duties with Buckcherry), keyboardist Asher Fulero and drummer Brian Foxworth (Curtis Salgado, The Roseland Hunters, What's Your Pleasure?) drive home each key focal point with what can only be described as a sickening ease. Wasting little--if any--time with the payola and chart position-related semantics of yesteryear, the guitarist proffers a thunderous, multi-dimensional variation of his now-trademark histrionics. Scoring major points early and often by virtue of both the input of the virtuosic Fulero and Foxworth and his penchant for translating 'lyrics to licks', the quartet flexes their collective muscles as they expertly expound upon one another.

      Produced, Mixed and Engineered by the legendary John Cuniberti (Aerosmith, Joe Satriani, Sammy Hagar) utilizing his groundbreaking 'one mic' recording technique, other standouts, including the curiously-titled--albeit highly-effective--tirade “I Love My Lawnmower” and the undeniably Bluesy, equally impressive closer “Things Can Walk To You”, only further reinforce Gilbert's already ironclad reputation as a bona fide creative and/or commercial force not to be ignored. While it remains unclear if the razor-sharp behemoth that is the omnipotent Behold Electric Guitar will earn the guitarist the wide-spread accolades he so rightfully deserves, it will, at the very least, leave little doubt in regards to his rightful place amid the hierarchy of former Shrapnel Records shredders (most notably David Chastain, Tony MacAlpine and Yngwie Malmsteen). The end results of Gilbert's more-than-considerable efforts, are truly nothing short of extraordinary and deserve to be evaluated accordingly.

      An absolute must-have for any genuine and sincere Gilbert enthusiast--particularly those with a fondness for the instrumental/non-Mr. Big or Racer X--portions of his discography, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly adventurous wares contained herein serve as a much-welcomed reminder of his awe-inspiring abilities. Even if you still find yourself less than enthralled with notoriously prolific Gilbert's already well-documented penchant for all things frenetic and, for lack of a more succinct term, over-the-top (the title track from Get Out Of My Yard, 2006 serves as an ideal example), one must, at the very least, sincerely admire his ability to 'push the envelope' at this stage within his career. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a refreshingly imaginative alternative to the Pop and Hip-Hop-infused banalities that are so often the mainstream, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane fix for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Select Discography

Behold Electric Guitar (2019)

I Can Destroy (2016)

Stone Pushing Uphill Man (2014)

Vibrato (2012)

Fuzz Universe (2010)

United States (2009)

Silence Followed By A Deafening Roar (2008)

Tough Eskimo (EP (2007)

Get Out Of My Yard (2006)

Space Ship One (2006)

Acoustic Samurai (2003)

Gilbert Hotel (2003)

Burning Organ (2002)

Raw Blues Power (2002)

Alligator Farm (2000)

Flying Dog (1998)

King Of Clubs (1998)

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